Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

Perth identified as Australia’s most successful Olympic city

Perth identified as Australia’s most successful Olympic city
July 30, 2016

Perth has been identified as Australia's most successful location for producing Olympic athletes, according to new University of Sydney research.

Kristy O’Neill, a PhD student from the Faculty of Education and Social Work, arrived at the result after examining the profiles of 2,160 Australian athletes who had competed in the summer Olympic Games between 1984 and 2012.

Using biographical and archival data from the Australian Olympic Committee, official team handbooks, the National Sport Information Centre in Canberra and published newspaper articles, O’Neill then traced each athlete to a corresponding local government area to determine where the athletes were born or raised.

Olympic success was determined by those local government areas which had the highest number of representations proportionate to their population size, with the three bordering local government areas of Cambridge, Claremont and Nedlands in Perth emerging as a clear hotspot for nurturing sporting talent.

O’Neill explained “the ‘birthplace effect phenomena’ - where elite or professional athletes are more likely to come from small-to-medium-sized communities - has been identified in Canada and the United States, but I wanted to see if this effect also existed in Australia.”

As part of her doctoral thesis, O’Neill interviewed 42 people from the local community, including 11 Olympians, to determine which features made Perth such a strong sporting community, and whether this success could be replicated in other areas across Australia.

While early learning environments were a crucial factor for fostering world-class athletes, O’Neill also uncovered several other elements that, if present in other locations, could produce similar results to Perth.

She explained “the geographic location in Perth is ideal for encouraging a sporting culture.

“The climate is more Mediterranean, the community has access to lots of built and natural facilities – beaches, parks and open spaces – as well as access to larger backyards.

“All of this encourages people to engage with sports from an early age and fosters a physically active population..

“Given Perth has a relatively small population compared to somewhere like Sydney, the athletes there are also able to compete against more experienced athletes from a young age, and as juniors had quite a lot of interaction with older athletes as role models.”

O’Neill’s analysis revealed several other hotspots nationally which have produced a proportionately high number of Olympic representation for their region, including local government areas around Brisbane, Ballarat and Boroondara in Victoria, Burnside and Mitcham in Adelaide, and Manly in the Sydney region.

Yet one key factor contributing towards Perth’s sporting success was the size of the city itself, O’Neill found, advising “Perth is big enough to have world-class sporting facilities but is not as large as Sydney or Melbourne, meaning that promising athletes were more likely to be noticed early on by coaches or talent spotters.

“Perth-raised athletes also benefited from easy commutes to these sports facilities. Many athletes in the Perth hotspot areas only needed to travel for between five and 15 minutes before arriving at their destination, which is better for their training and recovery because they’re not sitting in traffic for hours each day.”

Regardless of where they were based, most of the athletes profiled in O’Neill’s study shared the view that resilience and perseverance, rather than natural skill level, contributed most to their success; a promising finding for other towns hoping to follow Perth’s example.

She concluded “none of the athletes really emphasised having good genes or being ‘born with it’ - they just believed that relentlessly working hard made the difference.

“They weren’t always the best athletes at the younger age groups, but they were the ones who had the most grit or stuck with it.

“It’s multifaceted and definitely can’t be attributed to one thing, but the athletes said the factors that were close to home – their family influences, their psychological traits, and having a positive early experience at community sports clubs and in primary school - were the most influential, rather than location-based factors which no doubt gave them an advantage.”

Images: The 2 5 Australian Athletics Tour Final held at the WA Athletics Stadium in 2011 (middle) and events at the WA Athletics Stadium (below)

23rd June 2016 - VENUESWEST CELEBRATES OLYMPIC DAY AND HIGH PERFORMANCE ATHLETES

4th August 2015 - PERTH ARENA RANKED NUMBER ONE IN AUSTRALIA

16th March 2015 - WESTERN AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF SPORT GOES FOR GOLD

5th February 2014 - WORLD-CLASS TRACK LAID AT WA ATHLETICS STADIUM

30th November 2012 - $25 MILLION TO SET WA ATHLETES ON COURSE FOR RIO OLYMPICS

8th March 2012 - URBAN DESIGN CAN BOOST ACTIVITY AND HEALTH

27th June 2008 - PARKS FORUM HIGHLIGHTS VALUE OF PARKS


Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

THE FITNESS GENERATION

The Fitness Generation is now part of NovoFit - see www.ausleisure.com.au/suppliers/novofit/

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness

 
 

BODY BIKE AUSTRALIA

BODY BIKE® International is a leading manufacturer of indoor bikes with a 20-year track record of creating the best indoor bikes. Stay connected with Body Bike Australia…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Sport / Technology / Wellness

 
 

Intelligenz

Intelligenz provides Leisure Management Software for managing all your Program Registrations, Facility Bookings, Membership Sales and POS Transactions; including detailed Reporting, automated…

read more

Access / Billing / Finance / Marketing / Technology

 
 

LIFE FLOOR (Aus & NZ)

Our team believes floors should be beautiful, comfortable, and engineered for safety, even when wet. Life Floor tiles meet six unique performance based standards: slip-resistance, impact absorption,…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Recreation / Safety / Surfaces

 
 

TICKETSERV

As of 2018, TicketServ operates as SeatGeek Asia Pacific Pty Limited, part of international ticketing platform SeatGeek. Click here to contact SeatGeek Asia Pacific via their entry in…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Events / Sport / Ticketing

 
 

revolutioniseSPORT

revolutioniseSPORT is the emerging market leader in online club management in Australia. Whether it is memberships, registrations, events, online sales or governance tools - revolutioniseSPORT is the…

read more

Recreation / Sport / Technology

 
 

The Jump Pad

The Jump Pad is a safe, flat inflatable made in a variety of sizes which can be used indoor or outdoor. From 3mx3m up to a whopping 9mx21m. Markets include Indoor and outdoor playgrounds, schools,…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Play

 
 

XBODY Australia Pty Ltd

PROVEN BUSINESS CONCEPTS WITH XBODY XBody’s goal is to see you and your EMS business succeed. That is why we don’t just sell equipment, we provide know-how, expert knowledge,…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness

 
 
 
 

get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business